Queen Gloð continues her reign, and her immortal hellhound Faithful continues his reign of terror!
Gloð acquires a new heir, the old one having died. Nothing yet indicates that Ottarr will become the most legendarily batshit king Lapland is ever likely to have.
Well, okay, maybe there’s a little foreshadowing. He is a lunatic. And also a brilliant strategist and all-around awesome military leader.
“Moooom,” says Hafrid, “will you help me murder my husband?”
Knut must be just the worst, because I seriously get a half-dozen requests to help murder him from various conspiracies.
As my raiders loot Brittany, again, Gloð’s sister dies of scurvy. I know we’re in the frozen north, but you have to eat some fresh veggies…
Faithful, who came to me as a puppy in 816, is still happily eating children around my court forty-three years later.
My chancellor forges a claim on a county in Sweden. It seems like a good time to attack the Swedes, inasmuch as their army currently consists of precisely 5.19 soldiers. I’m not sure that 19% of a guy is going to do much good.
In fact, due to some clever intermarriage, my grandson actually has a claim on the Swedish throne. However, it wouldn’t do much good to fight for it — even if I won, he’d still be independent, since a king-level ruler like Gloð can’t have another king as a vassal. If I were an emperor, it’d be another story. So I just go after the county.
Something weird happens, though — Sweden gets a new king, and my war is cancelled. (I think the old king got overthrown and became a vassal of the new king.) The new king is much stronger, so I’m okay with this. A false claim won’t be inherited unless you press it at least once, even unsuccessfully, so now I don’t have to worry about Gloð dying before I get the chance. I start forging more claims against Sweden, so I can press several at once.
Ottarr, my lunatic son, decides that a trumpet brigade would be the ultimate weapon and manages to deafen himself.
After forty-six years, Faithful is worshiped as a minor god and my courtiers offer regular sacrifices.
Money and prestige are running low again, but there’s always more of both to be had over in Devon! I’m using the prestige mostly to build up my primary holdings, so they’ll provide more troops.
Normally I never grant these requests, but since Ottarr is heir, why not?
Gloð finally finds her purpose in life, which is apparently to hunt a mysterious white bear.
I mean, I know a white stag is kind of a mystical thing. But isn’t a white bear just, like, a polar bear? They have those in Lapland, right?
This is the third time I’ve had this happen in a few years time. Why are the caravans of India using me as a dumping ground for their surplus eunuchs?
That wacky Ottarr! He definitely will be a laugh riot as king.
What did poor Knut do to all you people?
Finally, after a long and successful reign, Gloð dies. Faithful stalks off into the woods, where they say you can still hear his dreadful howling to this day. Long live King Ottarr! He is sure to be admired by his subjects.
Hmm. He’s not admired by Hrolfr. Apparently Ottarr slept with his wife.
Ottarr starts his reign much as Gloð ended hers, raiding the southwest to build up money and prestige. Then things get … weird.
Um, okay. Go cats, I guess!
Great! Ancient cults and forbidden secrets, what could go wrong?
I put on my robe and wizard hat. Cthulhu fhtagn!
At the last minute, though, Ottarr realizes this might be hazardous to his health and changes his mind.
Uh, wow. Apparently fighting Cthulhu makes you awesome. I regret nothing!
This may actually be more ominous.
In more mundane affairs, Oppland is looking like a tasty target, and I’m just getting ready to attack when some jerk calls in a favor to force me to press his claim to part of Iceland. Sigh.
There, we’ve got Iceland. Are you happy now?
Gah, and of course by the time I get back Sweden has taken it.
At this point, my proximate goal is to reform the Germanic religion, in preparation for converting from Tribal to Feudal and then finally getting off of gavelkind succession. To do this, I need to control three of the Germanic holy sites. I have one, and two more are held by Sweden. Abandoning my approach of aiming at adjacent counties, I start forging claims on the holy sites specifically, hoping to launch a war against Sweden with multiple claims.
Meanwhile, Nordland, which became independent during the transfer of power, needs to be reminded who is king in this vicinity. Fortunately, you get a claim on any breakaway realms, so it’s not hard to do.
I contemplate going after Sweden with what I have, but they’re still too strong. So it’s back to raiding Brittany, where they’ve just finished putting together some lovely towns for me to set on fire.
Ottarr is apparently stumbling drunk at council meetings. Is being a drunkard really all that much worse if you’re already insane though?
Uh, hmm. To get back at Godi Ofeig for acting superior, Ottarr is apparently willing to join the Society of Hel and traffic with dark powers. Sure, why not? Screw you, All-father!
I’m not worried about my soul. I took out Cthulhu, how bad can Hel be?
These evil secret societies sure do love their melodrama.
They’ve sent me a femme fatale, apparently.
I like where this is going. I think.
Yeah, so this is some Eyes Wide Shut material right here. But hey, dark power is dark power!
All right! I’m a Spæmaðr! I get a cool robe and everything.
Maer is always up for a good time.
Stupid happy family. How I hate them!
Uh, wow. That got dark really fast, huh.
But, hey, +20% bonus taxes! For some reason! Bring on the Blessing of Baalberith.
Can we get back to politics? The old king of Sweden has died, leaving this new king, who is shockingly weak. Finally time to take my shot.
So, now I’ve got a choice. I can press the claims I have against Sweden, which will net me three counties if I win, including one of the holy sites I need. Or I can go for subjugation, will will get me everything. That war will be harder to win, but not much harder.
The real problem is that subjugation will create an instant succession problem. Right now, I have only one kingdom, so regardless of how the counties get split up everyone is at least still my vassal. But if I subjugate Sweden, I’ll have two kingdoms, guaranteeing that gavelkind will split them up between my heirs. So I’d get Sweden, but possibly not for long, or at the very least my heir would have to fight for it again.
What the hell. Ottarr doesn’t seem like the type to go less than all out. Subjugation it is!
The war, as expected, is actually pretty easy. I’ve got plenty of money for mercenaries and prestige for tribal armies, courtesy of the peasants of Brittany and Cornwall, and the Swedes are weak. As the fighting goes on, Ottarr takes time off for an impromptu orgy.
Yikes, Ottarr is losing muscle tone! That’s some orgy.
I mean, at this point, I can hardly pass judgment on witches. I could give witch lessons.
Poor old Knut eludes the assassins for good.
Well. That was easier than I expected.
Greater Lapland is born!
Now, to reform the Germanic faith, I need 750 piety and 50% moral authority. Getting the piety is just a matter of time, but the moral authority is going to be tricky. I can raise it by winning holy wars or county conquests, or burning infidel temples, so I get started on that.
Ottarr takes up … theological pursuits, to get his piety up.
But the clock is ticking, since Sweden will be lost on Ottarr’s death.
Level up! I can’t pronounce it, but I’m sure it’s great.
This is that witch who turned up at my court. At this point why not?
The new Swedish vassals are unruly, and I’m forced to crush several of them in revolts.
Meanwhile, Ottarr is offering his hospitality to his fellow Hel-worshipers.
This playthrough is definitely rated a hard R. Also, how was Ottarr not Cruel already?
The Fellowship assigns me the mission of demonically possessing this woman.
Wait, driving her insane was “exactly as planned”?
It works, though, because they make me head of the Fellowship! Look at my badass goat skull mask!
So, now I’m running the Fellowship of Hel. What exactly does that get me?
Well, here’s where Ottarr’s career takes a really dark turn. As you’ll note, he currently has four legitimate children, as well as three bastards. The bastards aren’t a problem, but the four children are an issue because of gavelkind — as long as I have more than one either, Lapland and Sweden will be split up, and my counties will also be divided. What’s a king to do?
Well, if you are a completely demented, sadistic, Cthulhu-slaying, Hel-worshipping king like Ottarr, the obvious example is to sacrifice your children to the dark gods and consume their organs. This has the side benefit of revitalizing Ottarr, but the main effect is to remove the excess children from the line of succession. The nice thing about having the bastards around is that they can be legitimized in an emergency, so if I cut myself down to one heir and that heir dies by accident, it’s not a disaster. So Ottarr starts cannibalizing his own brood as fast as he can build up dark power.
The funny thing is that the theological events don’t take into account that I worship Hel, so I still get stuff like this. Perish these blasphemous thoughts, indeed!
Another big revolt breaks out, and while I’m in the middle of fighting it some foreign adventurer comes in to try to claim Sweden! There must be something I can do about that.
There’s always assassins, but I have … other methods now.
Mwahahaha! Sure enough, Hroðulfr dies soon afterward, and his war is cancelled. Chalk one up for the bad guys!
Soon after, the revolt is beaten. Ottarr is now a spectacular general and masterful schemer, though still an insane drunkard.
Oh good, another
I am, however, plagued by man-sized gophers.
Maer, my partner in crime/orgies, wants to summon a demon lord. Sounds good!
It keeps warning me of potential consequences, but everything always comes up Ottarr!
He’s now a general on par with Genghis Khan.
Faithful II isn’t quite as immortal as his namesake, so I build him a pyramid at the bottom of the garden. I’m shocked Ottarr didn’t try to bring him back to life or something.
Another revolt crushed. The Swedes are slowly coming into line. And my threat, which was kicked up to 50% from taking Sweden, is wearing off, meaning that all my neighbors won’t form a grand coalition against me. Finally, I can think about expanding.
The succession problem is not totally licked, though. My chosen heir, Rögnfrið, still has rival claimants from other families that I can’t simply devour. So it’s time to start thinning them out, too.
I chose Rögnfrið because she’s awesome, incidentally, almost as good a commander as her father without the benefit of various dark powers. Note that she only has one surviving full brother.
A Godi is a Norse priest. As always, the clergy gets shit done.
One fewer claimant for the throne!
Yes, clearly Ottarr has spent quite a lot of time paying attention to … myths and stories.
I think she’s upset I’ve been sacrificing her kids to the dark powers? Or maybe that I won’t put the laundry away.
Finally! Now the conquests can begin again, as my quest to raise Germanic moral authority and reform the religion continues…
Current Year: 882 AD. Current Status: Almost Unspeakably Vile.